Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

It's my first post on this forum after being a reader, there is a one information I've been looking for and I just can't find it anywhere... I do apologize for a slightly convoluted email.

I am Polish, born and raised in Poland and living in the UK for the last 7 years. My question is directed mostly to the natives of UK, USA and Australia - it's about some cultural habits and differences.

Basically I'm looking for an information about some things that I find either curious or irritating (I'm sorry for this, I don't really want to offend anyone, I'd just like to understand it) in the mentioned countries and I classify these things as "cultural". It's easy to find general information about British being "polite and formal", Australians being "friendly" and Americans "straight talking and direct", but from my foreign point of view are there any differences in:

1. Licking fingers after eating?
I find it rather common among the British. I know also one person from NZ who does that. I have no idea if there's any difference in USA or Australia?
Is it usually considered as "Yes, why not?" or "You shouldn't really do this but feel free" or "Oh my God what you're doing" ?

2. Slurping while drinking?

3. Belching?
I quite often see people who belch after eating or drinking and then they say "Excuse me" - but the way they do this indicates that they believe that nothing wrong or not accepted socially has happened and apologizing after the fact is enough.

4. Putting feet on chairs, seats on trains, tables etc.
I suspect that it's probably more common in the USA (judging by films only), but plenty of people do this in the UK as well. Is there any difference in this between English speaking countries?

5. Farting considered funny?
I have an impression that farting in public is often considered funny in the UK - but I may be wrong? I remember from one of the American films (I don't remember the title, sorry) that some Americans discussed it as a "Canadian" behaviour - but again, making any social observations on the basis of just one film would be naive.
Is there any difference in attitudes to this?

6. Walking barefoot in public places - especially in the office?
I knew 2 people who did it - one British and one from SA. They behaved as if it was completely normal - so maybe it is?

Now, my questions are of course related to the culture where I grew up. I know that 99% of people doing certain things won't even for a second think of them as offensive, because for them they are not and I have this in mind.

But if there was a huge difference between UK, USA and Australia in some of these aspects then maybe some of these things are not widely "Anglo-Saxon" but local for a specific country?

I will be grateful for any opinions on the local cultural differences

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
DanielJ said:
Hi,

It's my first post on this forum after being a reader, there is a one information I've been looking for and I just can't find it anywhere... I do apologize for a slightly convoluted email.

I am Polish, born and raised in Poland and living in the UK for the last 7 years. My question is directed mostly to the natives of UK, USA and Australia - it's about some cultural habits and differences.

Basically I'm looking for an information about some things that I find either curious or irritating (I'm sorry for this, I don't really want to offend anyone, I'd just like to understand it) in the mentioned countries and I classify these things as "cultural". It's easy to find general information about British being "polite and formal", Australians being "friendly" and Americans "straight talking and direct", but from my foreign point of view are there any differences in:

1. Licking fingers after eating?
I find it rather common among the British. I know also one person from NZ who does that. I have no idea if there's any difference in USA or Australia?
Is it usually considered as "Yes, why not?" or "You shouldn't really do this but feel free" or "Oh my God what you're doing" ?

2. Slurping while drinking?

3. Belching?
I quite often see people who belch after eating or drinking and then they say "Excuse me" - but the way they do this indicates that they believe that nothing wrong or not accepted socially has happened and apologizing after the fact is enough.

4. Putting feet on chairs, seats on trains, tables etc.
I suspect that it's probably more common in the USA (judging by films only), but plenty of people do this in the UK as well. Is there any difference in this between English speaking countries?

5. Farting considered funny?
I have an impression that farting in public is often considered funny in the UK - but I may be wrong? I remember from one of the American films (I don't remember the title, sorry) that some Americans discussed it as a "Canadian" behaviour - but again, making any social observations on the basis of just one film would be naive.
Is there any difference in attitudes to this?

6. Walking barefoot in public places - especially in the office?
I knew 2 people who did it - one British and one from SA. They behaved as if it was completely normal - so maybe it is?

Now, my questions are of course related to the culture where I grew up. I know that 99% of people doing certain things won't even for a second think of them as offensive, because for them they are not and I have this in mind.

But if there was a huge difference between UK, USA and Australia in some of these aspects then maybe some of these things are not widely "Anglo-Saxon" but local for a specific country?

I will be grateful for any opinions on the local cultural differences

Thanks!
Most of Australians lick their fingers after eating. I find it very "peasant" however most people do it in a manner which makes you laugh and adore it. That said, most restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne are extremely sofisticayed and "European" style. With a choice of 4 forks and knifes and 5 spoons which sometimes confuses me! And I'm coming from French educated culture.

No one slurps while drinking. Only Japanese and Chinese do that. That's part of their culture and shows how much you enjoy the food. I'm determined to change that!

Belching. Hmm yeah unlike continental Europe, it is accepted here. But so in UK. Mind continental Europe is VERY different to UK, US, Australia and such. We pride ourselves on how we behave ourselves, while Brits and Australians are more frank and straightforward. At least you always know know what they think of you! I find it extremely brave !

Feet on seats? Only "bogans" and westies (local version of peasants) do that.

Farting? No. I can't find a culture where this is considered ok.

Walking barefoot? You joking right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Most of Australians lick their fingers after eating. I find it very "peasant" however most people do it in a manner which makes you laugh and adore it. That said, most restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne are extremely sofisticayed and "European" style. With a choice of 4 forks and knifes and 5 spoons which sometimes confuses me! And I'm coming from French educated culture.

No one slurps while drinking. Only Japanese and Chinese do that. That's part of their culture and shows how much you enjoy the food. I'm determined to change that!

Belching. Hmm yeah unlike continental Europe, it is accepted here. But so in UK. Mind continental Europe is VERY different to UK, US, Australia and such. We pride ourselves on how we behave ourselves, while Brits and Australians are more frank and straightforward. At least you always know know what they think of you! I find it extremely brave !

Feet on seats? Only "bogans" and westies (local version of peasants) do that.

Farting? No. I can't find a culture where this is considered ok.

Walking barefoot? You joking right?
Thanks!

Well... I'm not joking about walking barefoot in the office - if this was just one person I wouldn't think about it too long, but 2 people... Well, 2 people still may be just a coincidence.

I think I'm somehow more tolerant of irritating behaviours in the more "foreign" cultures, like Japanese and Chinese because I consider it as a "foreign" behaviour, but then I perceive Brits, Australians etc. more like "us" than "them" so I guess that I instinctively expect them to behave like "us".

Maybe that's a part of the problem - that these cultures are just similar enough to mine to expect certain social behaviours.

As for the forks and spoons, I use only one of each if I have a choice and above two forks and two spoons I'm getting completely lost :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,218 Posts
LOL, your post is funny, but I'll answer from my perspective - and this is only from my perspective, I don't speak on behalf of any country. (I am a US native, raised in the Northeast region - the region may make a difference).

1. Licking fingers after eating?

I find it rather common among the British. I know also one person from NZ who does that. I have no idea if there's any difference in USA or Australia?
Is it usually considered as "Yes, why not?" or "You shouldn't really do this but feel free" or "Oh my God what you're doing" ?

Considered to be very unhygienic.

2. Slurping while drinking?

annoying to hear someone slurp when they have full control of whether to do so or not. But that's just me.

3. Belching?
I quite often see people who belch after eating or drinking and then they say "Excuse me" - but the way they do this indicates that they believe that nothing wrong or not accepted socially has happened and apologizing after the fact is enough.

Kind of rude. If people belch by accident, they usually say, "excuse me"

4. Putting feet on chairs, seats on trains, tables etc.
I suspect that it's probably more common in the USA (judging by films only), but plenty of people do this in the UK as well. Is there any difference in this between English speaking countries?

It depends whose home your in. I admit that I do this in my home and at my family's home, but not with my shoes on. I also do this on long distance trips by car or train. Sometimes I take up two seats on the Amtrak train to go to sleep. But people can tell you to move and they have every right to.

5. Farting considered funny?
I have an impression that farting in public is often considered funny in the UK - but I may be wrong? I remember from one of the American films (I don't remember the title, sorry) that some Americans discussed it as a "Canadian" behaviour - but again, making any social observations on the basis of just one film would be naive.
Is there any difference in attitudes to this?

Rude, but yes, some people may rip one to be funny or to get on someone's nerves.

6. Walking barefoot in public places - especially in the office?
I knew 2 people who did it - one British and one from SA. They behaved as if it was completely normal - so maybe it is?

A big no no especially at the office.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LOL, your post is funny, but I'll answer from my perspective - and this is only from my perspective, I don't speak on behalf of any country. (I am a US native, raised in the Northeast region - the region may make a difference).
Thank you all! :)

I know my post will be funny or strange for some people (I hope it won't be offensive) but it's just so difficult to get information on something that for many of you is so obvious that you usually won't even think about it.

By the way, I meant mostly feet on the seats on trains, buses etc., in general in the public space.

Off topic: I think that's the same problem as historians quite often have studying ancient cultures - some things were never written down because they were so obvious in the specific place and time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
_Sarah_ said:
By the way you get fined if an inspector sees you with your feet on the seat in public transport - they won't take any excuses!
That's true. "giggle". However I found inspectors or conductors in Australia much more tolerating towards tipsy "happy" customers :). I was able to get away with so much more than back in EU. Bottom line Aussies are simpler, but more fun and more "human" than most of Europeans. Just like Americans are.

I actually adore this quality. Why put a mask on when you can be strait forward and frank? What's the point if sugar coating? Aussies don't do that and don't expect you to be anything but honest with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
6. Walking barefoot in public places - especially in the office?
I knew 2 people who did it - one British and one from SA. They behaved as if it was completely normal - so maybe it is?

A big no no especially at the office.

I had to answer this one..I live in South Africa and possibly it's because we have so many "Africans" and this is largely their culture but a lot of South Africans walk around barefoot..BUT usually not in the office. A lot of the schools actually encourage it in junior school because it is known to help with good development of the feet. I live in bare feet around my house, and generally take my shoes off at work under my desk...but no I won't walk around the office without my shoes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
628 Posts
on the same topic... I would like to know if eating using your hands without spoon and fork is considered different or odd while partying?

in India especially south India we don't use spoons because our cuisines are such that it is very difficult to handle them with spoons and no way with forks!

we are given reason that eating with spoon or fork used by someone (even tough washed or sterilized) is unhygienic and so use god given 5 finger spoon.
 
  • Like
Reactions: auzee_bujji

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Great thread! :) I am from the US, and my husband is from the UK. And we're hoping to move to Australia - so we'll cover all three! haha My responses:
Hi,

It's my first post on this forum after being a reader, there is a one information I've been looking for and I just can't find it anywhere... I do apologize for a slightly convoluted email.

I am Polish, born and raised in Poland and living in the UK for the last 7 years. My question is directed mostly to the natives of UK, USA and Australia - it's about some cultural habits and differences.

Basically I'm looking for an information about some things that I find either curious or irritating (I'm sorry for this, I don't really want to offend anyone, I'd just like to understand it) in the mentioned countries and I classify these things as "cultural". It's easy to find general information about British being "polite and formal", Australians being "friendly" and Americans "straight talking and direct", but from my foreign point of view are there any differences in:

1. Licking fingers after eating?
I find it rather common among the British. I know also one person from NZ who does that. I have no idea if there's any difference in USA or Australia?
Is it usually considered as "Yes, why not?" or "You shouldn't really do this but feel free" or "Oh my God what you're doing" ?

I'm from the South Eastern US, btw... And yes, when we eat fried chicken, we eat it with our hands, and must absolutely lick your fingers afterwards. My DH (from the UK) has had no problem acclimating to this habit here in the US, so I can only assume that this is OK in the UK, too. Although I do have to mention that he's a scouser. hehe

2. Slurping while drinking?

Not acceptable, and children are chastised for it when they do it in public.

3. Belching?
I quite often see people who belch after eating or drinking and then they say "Excuse me" - but the way they do this indicates that they believe that nothing wrong or not accepted socially has happened and apologizing after the fact is enough.

Not acceptable to me, but my DH seems to think its perfectly acceptable. I have a feeling that is more of a gender thing than a cultural thing. Our daughter thinks it is funny when I chastise her Daddy about it.

4. Putting feet on chairs, seats on trains, tables etc.
I suspect that it's probably more common in the USA (judging by films only), but plenty of people do this in the UK as well. Is there any difference in this between English speaking countries?

Depends on the situation. In movie theaters, I'd say that its a known faux-pas. But in an airport, bus terminal, etc. it seems to be perfectly acceptable.

5. Farting considered funny?
I have an impression that farting in public is often considered funny in the UK - but I may be wrong? I remember from one of the American films (I don't remember the title, sorry) that some Americans discussed it as a "Canadian" behaviour - but again, making any social observations on the basis of just one film would be naive.
Is there any difference in attitudes to this?

See my response re: belching, same applies.

6. Walking barefoot in public places - especially in the office?
I knew 2 people who did it - one British and one from SA. They behaved as if it was completely normal - so maybe it is?

Not acceptable (unless you are a lifeguard at a swimming pool or beach) :)

Now, my questions are of course related to the culture where I grew up. I know that 99% of people doing certain things won't even for a second think of them as offensive, because for them they are not and I have this in mind.

But if there was a huge difference between UK, USA and Australia in some of these aspects then maybe some of these things are not widely "Anglo-Saxon" but local for a specific country?

I will be grateful for any opinions on the local cultural differences

Thanks!
 
  • Like
Reactions: naoto

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
I'm from TEXAS- We burp and fart and think it is funny. But we pretend not too (burp and fart...ever)

My son let a big ole belch out at pre-school. His teacher was not amused. She said-" WHAT DO WE SAY?"" he said-"Well..at my house, we say "good one!"

And lickin your fingers is just plain gross.

We never wear shoes around the house and yard, but we do in public places, but drunk girls have been known to take off their high heels when their feet start hurting.

Actually, we are very down to earth at home, but try to put on our good manners in public.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top